Seafood Lovers Line Up for Generous Plates During the “Fisherman to Fork” Feast
The springtime Original Marathon Seafood Festival, scheduled Saturday and Sunday, March 12-13, is a taste budtempting way to spend a weekend with the family in the Middle Keys. Be sure to bring a bib.
In its 40th year, the affordable foodie fair is staged at the outdoor Marathon Community Park, mile marker 49 oceanside. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 per adult with children age 12 and under admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult.
Seafood lovers line up for generous plates during the “fisherman to fork” feast as local chefs showcase their talents using Keys-based recipes. Choose from favorite indigenous offerings like mahi-mahi, Key West pink shrimp, spiny lobster, stone crab claws, crackers piled high with smoked fish dip and much more.
Conch is served up as ceviche, chowder, crammed into golden-fried fritters or as bun-hugging “konkwurst” sausage.
Hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages with sides of baked beans, coleslaw, hush puppies and French fries also are on the menu in addition to Key lime pies, baked goods and cakes, cool smoothies and icy treats.
Local commercial fishermen and markets catch, clean and cook the seafood served, and prepare bushels of oysters and bags of clams from the west coast of Florida. Fishermen and their wives participate alongside scores of community volunteers.
Live music performances are slated all weekend in genres ranging from reggae and calypso to trop rock, country, folk and groove. Popular Keys entertainers include The Regs, I-Land Vibe, and the anticipated return of South Florida’s country music favorite Amber Leigh.
Other attractions at the family-friendly event include a Keys artists’ village and art show, children’s games, prizes and a raffle that features a fully stocked cooler of fresh Keys seafood awarded to the lucky winner.
More than 200 booths are to dot the park with a variety of nautical items, tropical apparel and accessories, plants, flowers, boats, watersports opportunities and information from Keys organizations.
To date festival proceeds have contributed to nearly $80,000 in scholarships for Marathon High School students through the Marathon chapter of the Organized Fishermen of Florida, a statewide group that represents the interests and well being of the commercial fishing industries.
Co-sponsored by the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce, the event also helps fund chamber members continuing education opportunities.